Friday, May 21, 2010

Swearing as a second Language

I have bad habits -- biting my nails when I'm nervous, mindless humming, hitting the snooze button one too many times. And I have vices, I suppose. Diet Cokes, Reeses' peanut butter eggs, all things carb-related, reality t.v. But even those I've tried really hard to let go of. Addictions? Rockstars have addictions. Crackheads have addictions. Tiger Woods, I hear, has an addiction.

And, apparently, I have one too. Or so I've come to notice.

Is it booze? Nope. Too many vodka tonics, and I'm either going to sob on your shoulder or vomit in your yard. Neither is pretty. Blow? Not a chance. I'm still not convinced that Tylenol PM isn't a gateway drug. Fame? Are you serious? I'm a public school teacher. I might be famous in the teacher's lounge. Might. Be.

I, my friends, am addicted to swearing. I... effing... love... it. Now, I don't go around with Sailor Mouth or anything because, well, that's just tacky and shows zero creativity. And, no, I don't cuss at school or around small children. I try to clean it up for those that I know never would never utter such a foul thing. I've even been sparing here on my little piece of the internet (and will continue to try to be so, making this post about swearing actually have very few swear words. But the internet is not real life. And my swearing just isn't as good without my facial expressions and dramatic arm waving.).

But in real life, swear words are my friends. One of my favorite movie quotes ever is from The Christmas Story:

"He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master."

It makes me giggle every time because I think it's awesome. I aspire to be so adept. By nature, I'm a total rule-follower, so being profane is really my only form of rebellion. Growing up, my mother would cuss, and it just made her seem like more of a badass (and my mom is, was, and always will be a complete badass). Her favorite word was "shit", and she could use it as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb; it didn't matter. My brother fed me a pretty steady diet of inappropriate language and taught me the F-word (the only one not allowed in our house which made it delicious to say), but it was my Grandma Henrietta who truly made me understand the value of a well-placed expletive.

She was a bingo daubing, apple pie baking, silver-perm wearing potty mouth. She would probably die all over again if she knew I was revealing this, but then she'd smile her wicked smile and say, "That's my granddaughter. She's a regular horse's ass." Grandma Henri would smile and be polite and play the role of sweet granny... until you beat her at dominoes. Then, she would twist up her face, look at you through her little old lady glasses, and mutter, "You old horse's ass. Re-shuffle those damn dominoes." Her love of all obscenities ending in "ass" was clearly ingrained in me, for adding "ass" to any word is one of my favorite forms of swearing. In fact, I'd give up $1,000 out of my paycheck every year if I could just get away with calling someone (teenager or adult) an asshole one time each day without getting myself in a world of hurt.

There are those who would call foul language a sin... blasphemy... and a sure-fire ticket to Hell. It's crude and vulgar and entirely inappropriate. I get that. And they are more than entitled to their opinion, and, like I said, I will try to respect it although sometimes your shocked looks only encourage me. I used to worry over it and fear the results of my own slips of the tongue until I realized that for me, cussing is simply a stress-reliever. It's good for dramatic effect in story-telling. And sometimes it's just plain ol' fun. Haven't you just ever, in your car, screamed at the guy who cut you off, "I'm gonna kick your ass, you SON-OF-A BITCH!"? No? Try it. It feels outstanding, and it's way safer than, say, trying to shoot out his back window at 80 mph.

So, if a dirty mouth leads me to a river of fire and eternal damnation, then I should probably start packing my flameproof inner tube and the SPF 750.

Henrietta and I will be waiting for you, you old horse's ass.

1 comment:

  1. This, my dear, is where our kindred spirits intertwine. I'm quite the road rager :)